It’s difficult to watch someone you love struggle with opioid addiction. Support from family and friends goes a long way when helping someone overcome addiction. If someone you care about is using drugs:

Learn about Opioid Addiction.

Addiction can be very difficult to understand. The best way to help a loved one is to learn about what they are going through.

Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and a person’s behavior. At first, a person has control over whether or not he or she uses drugs, but if they begin misusing drugs the pleasurable affect makes them want to use it more. Eventually, the brain changes and creates an urge to keep using drugs.

REVIVE! Learn How to Recognize and Respond to an Opioid Overdose Emergency with Naloxone

Talk with your loved one and offer support. 

Although it’s not easy to discuss addiction, it is important. The first step is to tell your loved one that you care about them and show your support.

Even though you probably feel angry and let down it is important that you approach with love. They most likely already feel guilty and angry with themselves. Let them know that you want what’s best for them and want to support them during treatment and recovery.

Encourage treatment at a time when they seem receptive, if possible. You may have to bring it up several different times before he or she agrees.

Help them find treatment.

Even once your loved one agrees to treatment they may put it off, because it can be overwhelming to find one that is right for them. There are several different treatments for opioid addiction.

Residential/Inpatient treatment is around the clock supervision, and housing and meals are provided. At first, no visitors or outside contact will be allowed, so that patients are free from distraction or negative influences.

Outpatient treatment programs are usually counseling-based. Patients are allowed to leave in between sessions to go to work, school, etc. This program is best for those whom have not struggled with addiction for a long period of time and have a supportive home environment.

Work with your loved to find the right treatment for them. Do the research and learn what fits their situation best.

Take care of yourself.

It’s difficult to support someone with addiction and it can be easy to forget about self-care. Be sure that you have a support system. It might be a good idea to see a counselor or to join a support group. You are not alone and you and your loved one will overcome this one step at a time.